How Process Mapping Can Increase Your Profits

[ Fix the broken machine ]
by John Knight Published

Squeezing more through a broken machine is insane. Fixing it though, I guarantee will increase your profits.

Over the years, I have seen many businesses [and the people behind them] take different approaches to upgrade their business model and find the opportunities for improvement to the bottom line.

Every business has speedbumps, hurdles and brick walls which slow them down or stop them from making the most out of their business opportunities. Often, you find yourself up against a brick wall when you have been in business for some time and deep down you know that something ‘is just not quite right’. Maybe, you've grown so much that your existing processes don't suit the new bigger client base. Maybe, you are starting to lack a competitive advantage or it just needs modernising with the latest technology.

You need to find a way to smash through the brick walls holding you back - process mapping [even in its simplest form] is guaranteed to produce results.

Process mapping sounds like one of those wankie tools consultants use but essentially it is just a visual picture of your processes. Most commonly, it is used to review how you deliver your goods/ services.

Call it whatever you like, but essentially, process mapping is simply drawing a picture of the processes behind your business. Yes, it will be a big diagram! The more complex your process, the bigger the opportunity for improvement.

The worse case scenario is that your only benefit is having a clearer understanding of your existing process.

The more likely scenario though is that you make real changes to your work processes which will improve profitability and the capital value of your business.

When can process mapping help?

1. You do not have a clear understanding of your existing process

2. You are struggling to get a lift in efficiency or profitability

3. You are relying on old technology [and maybe it has started to let you down]

4. Too many bottlenecks in your processes

5. Too reliant on ‘people’ at different steps in your process

6. The business is feeling ‘stuck’

7. You are thinking of selling your business [improve the business now]

8. You find it hard to on-board new team members

9. High staff turnover is getting you down

10. You want to introduce some offshored resourced but know your existing processes are not good enough

Don't overcomplicate how you go about doing a process map. 

Here’s some practical tips to help you:

1. A large workspace can help – a large whiteboard is ideal [we would be happy to lend you our whiteboard wall].

2. Not having a large whiteboard is no excuse. An alternative is to use a large roll of butchers paper [you can buy them at Ikea] and roll it out on a table or the floor.

3. Spreadsheets can work but I find them less visual because you end up struggling to see the whole process on one screen.

4. Process mapping with stickie notes can be quite productive too. Write each step on a stickie note and stick on a wall or window. As you start to identify opportunities for improvement you can easily move the stickie notes around as appropriate. [One tip though, use quality stickie notes so they do not continuously fall off the wall – this is so annoying.]

5. Introduce some colour to your process map to differentiate who does each step in the process or the function each step serves.

6. Don’t kid yourself – start with reality before you start identifying the changes you want to make.

7. Keep it simple by not including too much detail on the first process map.

8. The bottle necks become obvious when you step back from the map – you will be too reliant on a person or a step in the process.

9. Don’t do a process map on your own – involve the team.

10. Once you have mapped reality, focus in first on the steps that are most critical to the process [they will stand out as they will have the most branches going to them or coming from them]

Process mapping is just a way to find wasted time in your business. Need some help process mapping your business? We would love to assist you.

7 Deadly Wastes in a Business

Want to know more about the potential wastes in your business? 

Download our 7 Deadly Wastes in a Business eBook here.

John Knight
read more by John Knight

John uses his business improvement and strategic planning skills to help his clients improve their position and boost their profits. John helps his broad client base with his unique business improvement services, strategic planning skills and wealth of knowledge on compliance matters.

Further to his business improvement offering, John provides company and business valuations for various purposes including company purchase/ sale, entity reorganisation and matrimonial or dispute resolution.

John is an expert in all things real estate and has built a reputation in the industry for being far more than just an accountant. He also has an in depth knowledge of the Dental sector and works closely with dentists and dental practices to streamline their accounting processes.

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